It is a classic case of “what could have been”. Local Manchester, England band gets some buzz, records an EP, quickly gets signed to a label and the EP never comes out. But what if the EP had pointed to an alternate future? A future not dictated by the whims of record label executives following trends? Dog Toffee fit that scenario perfectly. Led by Gav Rourke & Sean Lyons and backed by a string of drummers (finally solidified w/ long time drummer Phil Nelson), the band tapped into punk, grunge, girl group sounds, and white noise inspired by The Fall. The band would go on to support legends in concert (Dwarves, Misfits, and Dee Dee Ramone to name just a few), headline shows, and record with Seattle legend Jack Endino. But until now, their debut recordings have never been released. 20 years later is as good as time as any.

The Future Has Been is an accomplished statement of intent. Seemingly fully formed, it hits from the start and never lets up. No Contest feels like a mid 90’s pop punk masterpiece – and holy fuck, that is exactly what it is. A 2 minute blast of aggression that is a perfect opening track. King slows the tempo just a bit with some clean-cut guitar tones to open up the tune before shifting into a frantic punk assault. Nice one. Defiance is my favorite tune on the record. A raved up girl group anthem, it hits all the heartstrings for me. It sounds inspired by Chuck Berry’s Earth Angel with just a tad of attitude courtesy of The Clash. Seriously, it doesn’t get better than this. Belgrove brings the muscular guitar to the fore with urgent, plaintive vocals. “Why did I let you pass me by / why did I let you take control”. Cutting. Perfect. Won’t Miss You could qualify as a prog / punk hybrid. Obviously, I love it. An over 2 minute intro that becomes increasingly frantic, it devolves (or evolves) into barked punk vocals. Until that last 30 seconds though. It’s just a few seconds, but the band locks into a groove that was worthy of the mid 00’s lineup of The Fall (10 years after this it should be noted). Exhilarating.

The EP is out now on Stereokill Recordings and available at all digital outlets.

Verdict: lost masterpiece

For Fans of: The Clash, The Fall, The Stooges, Mudhoney

Tracks:

  1. No Contest
  2. King
  3. Defiance
  4. Belgrove
  5. Won’t Miss You
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